The Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) is transporting this year’s Junior Certificate (JC) examination papers to cluster centres using
bicycle taxis (kabaza), a development that has been condemned by stakeholders, including Maneb itself.
The Nation investigations established that examination papers were transported using bicycle taxis from all of the five holding centres—Nkhoma, Ching’ombe, Ndemani, Mitundu and Chankhande—in Lilongwe to distribution centres. The minimum distance from holding centres to distribution centres is five kilometres.
Maneb spokesperson Simeon Maganga has described the incident as unfortunate and not by design on the part of his organisation.
He said: “The arrangement is that part of the examination fee students pay goes towards logistics in relation to transportation of examination materials. This money goes directly to clusters and not to Maneb.”
Maganga said as Maneb, they recommended transportation using vehicles.
He added: “In extreme cases, motorcycles are recommended, but not bicycles as that will compromise security of the examination papers.”
Maneb has since
said they will institute their own investigations by summoning district education managers to explain the cause.
Civil Society Education Coalition (Csec) executive director Benedicto Kondowe said the development shows that government does not value examinations anymore.
“Transporting national examinations using bicycle taxi is a backward logistical arrangement and must be stopped. We have written to government over this and it is sad that it is still continuing. What if the box gets blown off by the wind? Or if it rains, what then? There is security risk of the materials being leaked,” he said.
According to Kondowe, transporting examinations by bicycles is unnecessarily putting them at risk and it should have been stopped long ago.
The 2014 JC examinations are scheduled to start today with 134 178 candidates registered compared to 126 816 candidates in 2013.